Reports of Discrimination, Stigma Common Among Hispanic Individuals With HIV

Culturally and linguistically appropriate methods are needed to address high rates of stigma and discrimination reported among Hispanic individuals with HIV infection.

Reports of HIV-related stigma and health care-associated discrimination were found to be common among Hispanic individuals, suggesting culturally appropriate efforts are needed to decrease stigma and discrimination in this population. These study findings were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data obtained from the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP), an annual cross-sectional study reporting on the experiences and outcomes of adults with HIV infection. Data obtained between 2018 and 2020 were evaluated to determine the prevalence of self-reported HIV-related stigma and health care-associated discrimination experienced among 2690 Hispanic adults in the United States.

Among all participants included in the analysis, the median HIV stigma score was 31.7, and 574 (22.6%) (95% CI, 20.7%-24.5%) self-reported experiencing health care-associated discrimination within the previous 12 months. Reports of discrimination were more common among men (n=1932) and participants (n=336) who also identified as Black or African American (23% and 28%, respectively) compared with women (n=537) and participants (n=1604) who also identified as White (18% and 21%, respectively).

Of participants who experienced health care-associated discrimination, a plurality indicated a lack of attention from their provider (62%), as well as perceptions of being treated with less respect (48%) or courtesy (48%) compared with others. In addition, experiences of discrimination among the participants were commonly attributed to their HIV diagnosis (30%), their sexual orientation or sexual practices (23%), and their race/ethnicity (20%).

Eliminating stigma and discrimination is a national priority and will require person-, provider-, facility-, and community-level interventions.

In regard to HIV-related stigma, most participants indicated concerns about the disclosure of their HIV status and perceived public attitudes about HIV-positive individuals. Participants reported a median HIV-stigma score of 31.7 on a 100-point scale, with the highest median scores reported among women, participants who also were of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage, and those who were born in the Caribbean (35.6, 38.9, and 35.7, respectively).   

Study limitations include the use of self-reported data, potential social desirability and recall bias, and the inclusion of only reports of discrimination experienced in HIV care settings.

“Eliminating stigma and discrimination is a national priority and will require person-, provider-, facility-, and community-level interventions,” the researchers noted. “Culturally appropriate efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination among Hispanic persons with HIV should consider disparities by gender and race,” they concluded.


Padilla M, Patel D, Beer L, et al. HIV stigma and health care discrimination experienced by Hispanic or Latino persons with HIV – United States, 2018-2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(41):1293-1300. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7141a1